Meghalaya ("the abode of clouds") lives up to its name! Clouds floating above the hills of Shillong welcomed us as we made our way through the snaking traffic. With a long weekend at hand, we had planned a trip to Meghalaya and shortlisted Cherrapunji, Mawlynnong, Dawki and Shillong for our itinerary.
The capital city of Meghalaya, is fast emerging as a popular tourist destination. No surprises why - the verdant valleys, dreamy lakes and waterfalls, delectable Khasi cuisine, the local music scene - Shillong has a lot going for it. Places to visit in Shillong include Umiam Lake, Don Bosco Museum and Elephant falls - amongst others. Here is an itinerary to explore Shillong over 3 days.
Picking up handcrafted souvenirs at Bura Bazar
Bura Bazar is a maze of narrow alleys with an eclectic mix of wares on sale – clothes, betel nuts, spices et all. What caught my fancy were the local handcrafted tools - knives, betel nut cutters, wooden pipes, and Khasi arrows. The market is open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on all days except Sunday.
Archery, a traditional game of the Khasi tribes, continues to be extremely popular in Meghalaya. Betting on archery games is legal and the best spot to enjoy a game of archery is at the Khasi Hills Archery Sports Institute where competitions are held at 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. (Monday to Saturday)
Learning more about the history and culture of Meghalaya
The Don Bosco Centre of Indigenous Cultures offers a rich insight into the lives and culture of the many indigenous tribes of Meghalaya. The seven floor – high building has an interesting honeycomb shaped structure. There are many galleries across the floors displaying interesting artefacts on history, religion, paintings, tools of daily use, food, architecture, weapons, handicrafts…
Planning a picnic at Umiam Lake
The Umiam Lake lies en route from Shillong to Guwahati. There are many vantage points along the road to admire the panoramic views, but I would highly recommend spending a day at leisure ambling around the Lake. The Nehru Park skirts the lake on one side and has beautifully landscaped gardens. It’s a perfect setting for a picnic, with colourful flowers and chirpy birds giving you company.